News & Blog

Photo by Broadmead resident Erroll Hay

Hambledune Marker Goes Home

By Carolyn Adams

A marble marker with “HAMBLEDUNE” carved into it was recovered from the exterior of Holly House during recent construction. “When I saw it, I knew it must have some significance and should be saved,” said Steve Alcarese, Broadmead’s electrician. “I researched the internet and found it was the name of an old estate on Bellona Avenue owned by the Hambleton family.”

Steve told resident Carolyn Adams about it and showed her the stone marker. That started Carolyn on a search to discover how the marker stone had gotten to Broadmead. She thought perhaps a prior owner of Holly House had had a family connection to the Hambledune estate, whose name was changed to “Selsed” by new owners in the 1930s. The mystery was solved when Carolyn spoke to longtime resident Gwen Marable, who revealed that T. Hambleton and his wife, Merrell, had lived at Broadmead.

“T,” as he was known, founded the Phoenix Theater in New York City. He died in 2005. Gwen recalled, “I met Merrell Hambleton before moving to Broadmead, when I attended an Earth Home meeting at her home. I met her son Mark Hambleton and granddaughter Annie Hambleton Watts when my son and I were in a workshop with both of them, and we were invited to their Fourth of July fireworks.” Merrell died in 2016. Annie is a musician and has played at Broadmead.

“When Carolyn Adams mentioned the stone, I contacted Annie, who gave us the contact information for the family historian, Martha Frick Symington Sanger,” Gwen said. Sanger was thrilled to hear of the discovery of the marker and thinks it may be from the first Hambledune, which was built in the mid-1800s and destroyed in a fire in 1928. The Hambleton family’s base in Maryland has been “documented by a remarkable chain of letters spanning 350 years,” she said. A new mansion was built and named Hambledune II. It was modeled after Hambleton Old Hall in England.

Because the marker has no historical significance for, or identity with, Broadmead, the Administration approved returning it to the family. Carolyn arranged for its return to Sanger, with Steve and Gwen present.

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